Oh dear, I’m afraid I was terribly insensitive in my previous blog post, Worry Orgasm, which was about how worried I became when a train I was scheduled to take became delayed due to someone jumping in front of it at a previous stop. A friend, generally a supportive fan, wrote to say that she had lost a family member to suicide and that it was very upsetting that I showed no sympathy or concern whatsoever for the suicide victim. Moreover, the graphic I chose of a toy train trivialized the whole tragic thing even more. Suicide of a loved one, she said, is something you never get over.
She acknowledged that my post mentioned that maybe I had repressed the horror of the suicide, but then she pointed out I dropped it and went on to have my worry orgasm. The worry orgasm, of course, had nothing to do with the tragedy of the suicide. Rather it related to having severe anxiety over a delayed train, when I didn’t even have to be anywhere. And then somehow that explosion of stress, relieved me of all the things I had been worried about before encountering the train delay.
But that’s not at all the point here. My friend’s email raises the question of the sensitivities I need to consider when writing my Worrywart blog. Both at the train station and in writing the post, I became enveloped in my anxiety and not only glossed over the suicide but also, as my friend pointed out, enjoyed schmoozing with other passengers.
In no way excusing my insensitivity, I find it to be a tricky business, because the things I worry about include the likes of death, a subject that seems to me to be the last taboo. People seem more uncomfortable talking about death than anything I can think of. My way of dealing with the grimness of it all is to try to take a wry approach toward my own discomfort. For example in my post about when my friend died, I wrote that I suddenly wanted to have lunch with him. Then I wondered who might die next and realized this kind of thinking could lead to a lot of unnecessary lunch dates.
In one of my first blog posts, “White Girl Worries,” I wrote, I worry about appearing frivolous or insensitive to my blog readers, especially those with real problems. Well, I’ll go on worrying about that and I’ll probably get it wrong again, but hopefully I’ll now be more aware of the feelings of those outside of my worry bubble.